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Snorkeling Gear

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  • Dec 27th, 2010 10:49 pm
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Newbie
Aug 28, 2006
21 posts

Snorkeling Gear

Hi,

I recently went snorkeling for the first time in Cancun. I loved it! I'm thinking of investing in my own gear - renting snorkeling gear from those huts seems unsanitary. Where in Toronto can you get snorkeling gear? I'm looking for a place where the dealer will know how to fit the googles to my face. I'm not looking for department store recommendations. I checked out the MEC website but they don't have much of a selection. I don't need the most expensive either, just looking for a good pair of entry level snorkeling gear.

Have you ever been snorkeling? Which cities/towns/beaches has the best snorkeling?
16 replies
Member
Oct 13, 2007
328 posts
Milton
i bought are sets from scuba 2000 in richmond hill ont i went snorkeling in st thomas bahamas and grand turk grand turk was my favorite
Deal Fanatic
Feb 15, 2006
5947 posts
1035 upvotes
Toronto
If you want to buy, don't buy "entry" level stuff. A good snorkel will have a purge at the bottom. At the top it will either be a "dry" snorkel or a "semi-dry" snorkel. I like dry snorkel, but some people like semi-dry, it can be a personal preference as you get used to it.

Masks might need to be tried on, but unless you have a very different face, most companies try to make their masks to fit as many people as possible.

There are also many different kids of fins.

After that, you can begin to think about lycra skin shirts and pants (like compression shirts) that can act as sun screen, and provide some protection from scraps to rocks/corals (although you are supposed to stay away from touch coral reefs).

--

We just came back from diving/snorkeling trip from Florida, and cruise ports of St. Thomas, Grand Turk, Bahamas, etc. There're lots of good places to dive/snorkel in the Caribbeans. Not much in Canada, too cold for growth of coral reef.
Deal Addict
Jan 8, 2007
1927 posts
177 upvotes
+1 for Costco....very good quality sets from there. To try on the mask properly make sure you don't have too much facial hair, put the mask on, suck air out through your nose and suck the mask in towards your face. If you have a good seal then the mask will stay "sucked in" for a while. The costco masks have purge valves in them which is great when the water eventually gets in (just blow extra air into the mask and the pressure forces water out the valve in the bottom). The have silicon nose pieces for pressure equalisation during a shallow dive too pinch your nose and blow gently to equalise). The flippers are adjustable too and very comfy. The Costco snorkels have "dry" tops, so you won't inhale a ton of water and they have double purge valves in the bottom to get rid of water when you surface after diving.
Deal Fanatic
Feb 15, 2006
5947 posts
1035 upvotes
Toronto
I bought a set of snorkel gears from Costco for my wife a couple of years ago. For the price it was a good starter set. But consider it a medium/entry level set.

The fins have straps and are adjustable. They are shorter than most dive/snorkel fins. It's ok if there is little or no current and you don't need to swim far. Because it is "open heel" style, you'll need to wear boots, or at least water shoes with it. A "closed heel" would not need boots.

The snorkel is good. But after some use, my wife realized the mask doesn't fit well. We'll be trying other masks I have (I dive and have gotten a few masks by now).

A mask with purge at the bottom is good for beginners. It allows you to blow water out without having to raise the bottom of the mask. However, it is one more "break point" for the mask. Most experienced divers/snorkelers don't like such a mask, especially for divers. Divers want to minimize places where things can break, because when you are down there, a leaking mask will almost mean you need to abort the dive to come up.
Deal Addict
Jul 17, 2003
1119 posts
46 upvotes
Toronto
I also purchased the Body Glove set from Costco in the past.

The mask is good as it is silicone and not rubber, and the fitting is decent. However, the fitting didn't feel as good as some the scuba masks that I've used while on discover scuba diving excursions (max depth 40 ft).
The snorkel also had a purge at the bottom, and a valve that stops water from entering the tube at the top.

However, the fins are sub-par and easy to break. I went snorkeling a few times in Hawaii, and since the Pacific currents are much stronger than in the Caribbean, it didn't take long for my fins to warp (the fins curled downwards, like if you were to curl your toes downwards). The fins eventually snapped as well. Thankfully, Costco took them back without any issues.

Overall, I think the Body Glove set is good for normal snorkeling in the Caribbean/Mexico. Excellent value. But I would not recommend it for scuba use, or snorkeling in the Pacific (i.e. Hawaii).
[OP]
Newbie
Aug 28, 2006
21 posts
Great, thanks for the responses. Two more questions - what colors does it come in? How much does the set cost? I couldn't find it on the costco.ca website.
Deal Fanatic
Feb 15, 2006
5947 posts
1035 upvotes
Toronto
The Costco set we bought a couple of years ago were blue, and $55. I saw different style/price last year and this year. They were cheaper this year, but I didn't pay much attention and don't remember the actual price. They had both blue and grey colors available. But again, these are not regular stock items in Canada (not that much snorkeling here), especially in winter time.

I had actually dived/snorkeled in Hawaii and in many Caribbean islands. The currents in Hawaii is not necessarily stronger than in Caribbean. There are so many places in the Caribbeans. In Cozumel it is all drift diving/snorkeling. In St. Lucia there are also currents by the pitons. There are also calm places in Hawaii.

But it should be noted those fins from Costco are shorter. They are easier to move direction-wise, but they don't give as much propulsion. As such they are good for beginner snorkelers, and certainly not for diving.

If you enjoy snorkeling, you might like to give diving a try, just to see if you can do it. If you can, the experience is much better than snorkeling, viewing just from the top.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Jun 8, 2008
3031 posts
643 upvotes
Toronto
I'm not sure how you travel but my husband and I typically backpack; we'll bring a mask and snorkel but we don't bring fins - they're too bulky to pack and we're happy to float around just with the mask and snorkel.

We bought our sets at Europe Bound. We're both divers and they seem to be just fine for us.
Deal Fanatic
Feb 15, 2006
5947 posts
1035 upvotes
Toronto
I found among my extra diving/snorkeling gears, two new snorkels. These are Tusa Platina II Hyperdry (model SP-170) Snorkels, brand new, still in package. They sell for US$35 + shipping (maybe customs) in the US, or Cad$70+tax at Aquarius scuba (in Toronto).

I can let these go for Cad$35 each. That's a good price for a good snorkel. But there are cheaper ones in the market.
Sr. Member
User avatar
Aug 26, 2010
811 posts
113 upvotes
Brampton
Hi guys,

I'm heading off down to the caribbean and really need my own snorkel gear since I'll be on different islands.
I looked on the costco website and can't find any snorkel equipment online :(

I'm willing to spend upwards of $80 for a good set with easy to carry bag.. I realize this thread is 2 years old has anyone seen anything recently?
Deal Guru
Oct 6, 2005
14811 posts
1493 upvotes
KangFu wrote:
Dec 16th, 2010 8:18 pm
Hi guys,

I'm heading off down to the caribbean and really need my own snorkel gear since I'll be on different islands.
I looked on the costco website and can't find any snorkel equipment online :(

I'm willing to spend upwards of $80 for a good set with easy to carry bag.. I realize this thread is 2 years old has anyone seen anything recently?

Goto Scuba 2000 in Richmond Hill, they will have what you want.

Costco normally carries Snorkel equipment during the summer, but you can call them up and see if they have any in stock.

If you're not too serious, you can check Canadian Tire, Walmart, Sears, Bay etc. They might have some sets left in the sports departments. Just get one with a purge.
Deal Addict
User avatar
Dec 9, 2008
4704 posts
161 upvotes
Mountain Equipment Co-op sells some good quality basic snorkelling gear. For example, their Aqualung brand mask and snorkel set sells for $40. They also have a good return policy if they don't happen to fit properly, etc.


{BTW, if anyone has a suggestion for sources of prescription masks or reviews of different brands, be sure to visit my thread on that topic in the Sports & Fitness forum.}
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